It’s Heaven at the End of this Rainbow

Digest Eat This

August 20, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Kamaaina would agree that one of the best things about living in the islands is being able to savor the delicious tastes of the hearty plate lunch. And with plate lunch seemingly always on the brain, locals know that Rainbow Drive-In in Kapahulu is their best option for such a tasty meal.

  • BBQ Steak ($7)
  • Shoyu chicken ($6.25)
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Founded by Sejiu and Ayako Ifuku in October of 1961, Rainbow Drive-In is today operated by vice president Jim Gusukuma, the Ifukus’ son-in-law.

According to Gusukuma, the establishment offers patrons a wide range of options that span the rainbow.

“For the most part we like to stick with the original recipes from years ago, but we have added a few things to the menu throughout the years,” he says.

For example, Rainbow Drive-In’s much-loved Shoyu Chicken ($6.25) was derived from a recipe of a former chef years ago. Since then, the always-requested dish has been satisfying the appetites of hungry diners from across the globe.

“Our Shoyu Chicken features chicken thighs marinated in a sweet and sour sauce consisting of apple cider vinegar, shoyu, sugar and hints of ginger,” Gusukuma explains.

“It’s not an original recipe at Rainbow Drive-In, but it’s turned out to be one of our most popular dishes and people really seem to like it. It’s one of our standard plate lunches available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.”

As for a Rainbow Drive-In original, the BBQ Steak ($7) is a difficult one to beat. Served daily, diners can expect tender slices of beef served on a bed of cabbage.

“Our recipe is old fashioned, and we stick to a more traditional Japanese teriyaki flavor, using shoyu, sugar and a lot of ginger,” Gusukuma states. “This is a very typical plate lunch in Hawaii.”

All plate lunches come complete with two scoops of rice and macaroni salad.

And in honor of Rainbow Drive-In’s 50th anniversary this year, the establishment also is rolling back the prices to those that were seen in the ’60s and ’70s.

Upcoming anniversary specials include 25-cent Saimin Sept. 17, from 5 to 9 p.m.; and $1 Chili Plate Oct. 16, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Anniversary specials will be sold only at the parking lot tent (limit five items each, no phone orders).

Rainbow Drive-In

  • Where
    • 3308 Kanaina Avenue
    • Honolulu, HI 96815
  • Call
    • (808) 737-0177
  • Hours
    • Open daily
    • 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Notes
    • Free parking available.